Now’s the ideal time to get your financial house in order!
It’s been a tough year but it’s almost over and it’s perfectly reasonable to feel confident that 2024 will be a fair bit better. We finally have a new government, so the political uncertainty of the past few months is over and – for better or for worse, they’ve clearly marked out where they stand on most issues that can affect finances.
With that in mind, the great Kiwi summer shutdown is a good time for sitting back and taking stock of where you’re at – moneywise, and getting some plans into place that will help you feel more comfortable and confident next year.
Define your financial goals
It might be as simple as becoming debt-free, or considerably more complex – perhaps with the possibility of purchasing new properties or establishing new businesses and even growing existing ones, in the mix.
Whatever you hope to achieve, having clearly defined goals is essential, so don’t be afraid to set about creating a detailed big picture – maybe graded a little, in terms of feasibility, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to aim high.
With interest rates fairly stable – for now, at least, and wages looking pretty good on the whole, your goals may be easier to attain than you think.
Budget better in 2024
Sometimes people erroneously assume that budgeting services are only for those who live pay slip to pay slip and are never able to make ends meet, but that’s not strictly true. Sometimes, no matter what our personal situation, an outside set of eyes can see things that aren’t immediately obvious. Or even things we simply don’t want to see.
It’s not all about the number of coffees you buy or whether you think smashed avocado on toast for breakfast is a basic human right, smart changes across the board can free up money for those everyday ‘essentials’ while helping you get ahead and achieve those goals we discussed above.
If you’re open to advice, have a look around the various budgeting service providers and see if there’s somebody who fits your niche.
While most of us have a reasonable idea as to what’s currently owing on our credit cards, there are often other debts besides, and for large items such as cars and overseas holidays, these obligations can be considerable.
When trying to keep up to date, each month becomes extra-stressful – especially when rising interest rates are involved so, in the new year, it might be time to look at debt consolidation.
Those who have taken this step often comment at the sense of relief they feel at only having one single monthly payment to budget for and a nice clear plan as to how long it’s going to take to wipe the slate clean – as long as they don’t rack up yet more debt in the meantime.
Depending on the sum involved you may be able to work with small lenders, but if it’s anything significant you are probably better off with one of the major banks who are generally able to offer you a better rate, with fewer terms, conditions and added fees as long as you stick to your payment schedule.
Create an emergency fund.
2023 certainly taught us all to expect the unexpected and many people were caught out without savings for a rainy day – which were quite literally required, as various weather events rolled in and took their toll.
Circumstances can vary of course and a little is better than nothing but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have the equivalent of three to six months’ average earnings put aside if you can possibly manage it – especially if you are servicing a significant mortgage.
As lots of us discovered, even with insurance, money for urgent repairs didn’t arrive overnight and credit cards were maxed out pretty quickly. What’s more, it’s not just natural disasters that can cause hardship.
Unexpected major car repairs, urgent surgery, school trips or dental work can also put a major strain on your finances so having the safety net of an emergency fund is really very important.
Discuss your plans with experts
At Money Empire we pride ourselves on our wide-ranging experience and knowledge – and our ability to quickly get to the bottom of your situation, so that we can help you to solve problems and achieve goals, with a minimum of stress.
We’d like to wish all of our clients a happy festive season and apart from during our official closedown period (23/12-14/01) the Money Empire coffee and chat option is always there for you. Just fill in our online contact form or give us a call!